The Appraisal Of Your Email Delivery

Appraisals. Hmph. I am very much over assessments, appraisals, valuations -- pick your term. As many of you may remember from my previous articles, I have my house on the market. When the stars aligned, and I was able to secure an acceptable offer within seven weeks, I was on cloud 9! We flew through the inspection unscathed and just had to go through the appraisal process -- which we were assured would not be an issue. But that’s when the wheels fell off the bus.

In the world of email, the appraisal is equivalent to the inbox providers making the determination to place your email in the subscribers’ inbox or not. And the decision of one can therefore have a domino effect on your long-term program success.

Let’s revisit my moron of an appraiser for a minute -- and I can call him that, as I have had that fact validated now with other appraisers. He was lazy. He didn’t measure my house (just used incorrect numbers on file at the assessor’s office) and pulled comps for homes in the area based on grossly inaccurate information. When we contested the first appraisal based on these blatant inaccuracies, he came back, albeit with a serious attitude. He then miraculously “found” an additional 600 square feet in my house, but only added new comps to the end of his previous list of homes in the area, which were now  apparently, weighted incorrectly based on their chronological position within the document. So my house did not appraise, we lost the buyer, and I am back at square one; all because one idiot decided NOT to do his job that day.

Let’s be clear. With inbox providers leveraging algorithms, engagement details and predictive modeling to determine inbox placement, it has nothing to do with one person making that ever-important determination. The point here is that when you find yourself in this situation, you typically have a lot of questions -- and get too few answers.

When inbox providers bulk-folder your email, you probably ask yourself why. You may spend hours combing through your email to highlight everything you did right, addressing every precaution you took to avoid this fate -- and the ultimate answer may be that “it is what it is.” So instead of looking back, look forward. If you find yourself in this situation again, ask yourself these questions about your email:

  • Is your email engaging? Be sure that your subject line is going to elicit some kind of response. You want people to open your email and engage with it.  The more they do, the better your chances of finding your email consistently in the inbox.

  • Is your subscriber base active? Email marketers typically continue to include non-responders because it keeps the volume up and doesn’t affect costs significantly.  Realistically, however, the dogs on your list could be keeping you in the dog house (er, the bulk folder).

  • Are you giving them what they want? Your customers have to want what you are selling (or telling , depending on the purpose of your message). Ultimately you may “think” they want it because they subscribed, but what customers say and what they do are often two very different things. Look at their actions, determine what it is they are responding to, and craft your messages accordingly.

If you find yourself in the bulk folder, strategize your way out of there quickly and effectively. In the mean time, I am going to write a letter to the local press about my recent experiences with this moron appraiser - - as I have no other recourse than public awareness. 

Tags: email
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3 comments about "The Appraisal Of Your Email Delivery".
  1. Pete Fishman from BGP , October 15, 2011 at 6:58 p.m.
    Please keep your rants private and focus on creating some value here. You go on and on about a personal experience only to finish by stating very obvious points. For example: “Be sure that your subject line is going to elicit some kind of response.” Gee, I never thought of that! MediaPost, let’s only give the floor to true experts in their field, because we can do a lot better than this.
  2. Kara Trivunovic from Epsilon , October 18, 2011 at 12:17 p.m.
    Yikes Pete. Seems a bit aggressive. What you deem obvious is still a mark that many email marketers are missing. There is constantly an in flux of new email marketers to the scene and even today, I would argue that it is often times the obvious opportunities that get overlooked. With the deliverability landscape changing from a technical discipline to a strategic one, it is certainly a topic of conversation amongst many email marketers. But hey, what do I know...I've only been doing this for 10+ years. :)
  3. Jai Santiago Williams from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) , October 18, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
    Pete, it's one thing to disagree or have a completely different point of view/perspective than someone. But ask yourself what "value" was added by the personal attack here. Your personal rant comes off as quite immature, unprofessional and unnecessary. This column is composed of experts in their respective fields who have been invited and chosen by a well-informed board of their peers, and as such promotes healthy debate. When you are invited and given the forum to express that you are an "expert"...oh wait, that's right - you weren't. Darn.